Saturday, March 29, 2008

Episode #11: All-Star Superman

This past Wednesday, March 26, 2008, issue #10 of All-Star Superman was published. I have discussed this title in past episodes, but I thought I would devote this episode exclusively to what I consider the best Superman comic book currently published.
If you have missed some issues, or have not read All-Star Superman at all, pick up All-Star Superman vol. I, which collects the first six issues of the title. That is the only collection so far, at least until DC gets to issue #12, and it certainly won't be the last. To avoid any spoilers, you may want to read some or all of the back issues before you listen to this episode.

The creative team of All-Star Superman is as follows:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Frank Quitely
Digital inks and colors: Jamie Grant
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Covers: Penciller: Frank Quitley; Digital arts and pencils: Jamie Grant
Series Editor: Bob Shreck; Editorial Assist: Brandon Montclare
Collected Edition Editor: Bob Joy

The story titles of the issues are as follows, with short, spoiler free descriptions (mostly):
Issue #1: . . .Faster. . .
Superman rescues a manned mission to our sun, with unexpected consequences for himself.
Issue #2: Superman's Forbidden Room
Superman, who had given Lois Lane a big surprise at the end of issue #1, celebrates her birthday by treating her to dinner at the Fortress of Solitude. Then he gives her a unique birthday present.
Issue #3: Sweet Dreams Superwoman . . .
One lucky woman gets to spend 24 hours with Superman's powers.
Issue #4: The Superman / Olsen War
We discover how black kryptonite affects Superman.
Issue #5: The Gospel According to Lex Luthor
Clark Kent interviews Lex Luthor in prison.
Issue #6: Funeral In Smallville
There are some things Superman is powerless against.
Issue #7: Being Bizarro
Superman battles Bizarro.
Issue #8: Us Do Opposite
Superman on Bizarro World.
Issue #9: Curse of the Replacement Supermen
Superman meets two lost kryptonians who come to Earth and are not impressed by him in the least.
Issue #10 Neverending
Superman tries to tie up loose ends.

There are several reasons I enjoy All-Star Superman.
The "continuity" of the story easily fits into any era of Superman, silver age, post-crisis 1980's, except for current continuity where Lois and Clark/Superman are married, of course.
While all of the issues are part of a larger storyline, each issue reads like a stand-alone story. Any issue can be your first issue of All-Star Superman, without being lost reading it without knowing what has happened in previous issues.
All-Star Superman contains the most unique and original characterization of Clark Kent. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely present Clark as a sloppy, slouching, loveable oaf, a big teddy bear. When he sees an emergency that requires his attention, he finds something to trip over. As he falls, he changes into Superman in front of everyone at super speed, performs his rescue, and then changes back to Clark on his way back onto his feet. If Superman really existed, Clark would be like this, and not just a mild-mannered nerd. It would make more sense hiding in plain sight with only a pair of glasses as a disguise, if Clark was a clumsy, sloppy guy.
There are many silver-age stories that remind me of elements of All-Star Superman, although I have of no idea of any specific issues that may have inspired Morrison and Quitely. Most silver age stories had Superman flying unaided in outer space, as well as through the time barrier. Most of Superman's friends have been to the Fortress of Solitude. I have reprints of Superman and Jimmy disquised as Nightwing and Flamebird in the bottle city of Kandor, beginning with a story first published in Superman #158. I recall reading stories, maybe some "imaginary" ones, where Superman gives one of his friends a serum to temporarilly give them super powers. Silver age stories are full of the effects of the various forms of kryptonite on Superman. Many stories show Lex Luthor in prison or breaking out of prison. There have even been silver age stories of Superman's descendents in future centuries. The silver age is replete with stories of various survivors of Krypton. And Superman has been shown using his heat vision to write in his giant diary constucted of metal pages, in Kryptonese. I have even read stories of Superman trying to tie up loose ends and solve super feats that he has failed to accomplish, despite his super efforts.

Next week is April Fool's Day. For this first April Fool's Day episode I will present a unique Superman story commemorating this special day.
Check out this and all episodes at Send e-mail to:

Don't forget to pre-order the book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross Macdonald, and published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. Check out their web sites:, and The book will be published on August 26, 2008, and can be pre-ordered from

Also check out my other blog, My Pull List at, and send e-mail to

Thanks for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks to Jerry and Joe.

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